Financial Inclusion Metrics for the Real World: How a Spatial Understanding of Financial Inclusion Can Contribute to Meaningful Measurement and Impact

The role of spatial data in understanding access and usage

Currently, most countries rely on demand-side surveys to assess the level of usage of financial services in the market. While these surveys produce national and very broad subnational estimates of usage, they hide the intense inequality of the distribution of this usage by different segments of the population. Without a detailed understanding of how usage is distributed, stakeholders have little chance of fully understanding what is driving it, therefore they have much less of a chance of having a meaningful impact when setting policies and targets designed to increase it.

Policymakers play a key role in driving financial inclusion, not only through the setting and measuring of broad, national financial inclusion targets, but also in the setting of policies and standards to encourage (i) the distribution of services in a way that increases access and (ii) the design of appropriate and inclusive products and services in a way that increases usage. Before examining how spatial data can be used to inform metrics and measurement frameworks, this paper aims to explore how spatial data can enhance our understanding of access and usage.

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By David Taylor